October 11, 2018 10:34 am
Updated: October 11, 2018 12:36 pm

Rockets fall to Thunderbirds in goal-filled affair

Photo credit: Marissa Baecker

The Kelowna Rockets fell 9-6 to the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds on Wednesday night at Prospera Place.

Seattle jumped out to a two-goal lead before the midway point of the opening frame, collecting goals from Noah Philp on the power play and Andrej Kukuca. Nolan Foote got Kelowna on the board on a Rockets’ power play at 13:28, but Philp, with his second of the game, responded for the T-Birds on another Seattle power play to make it 3-1.

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Philp completed his hat trick at 15:52 of the first, extending the Thunderbirds’ lead to 4-1, though Leif Mattson cut into the lead for the Rockets in the final two minutes. However, with 8.2 seconds to go in the frame, Zack Andrusiak regained that lead for Seattle, and it was 5-2 Thunderbirds after a wild opening 20 minutes of play.

In the middle stanza, Jaxan Kaluski scored for the T-Birds to make it 6-2 in Seattle’s favour. Kyle Crosbie scored his first career WHL goal for Kelowna midway through the period, and, less than a minute later, Conner Bruggen-Cate ripped a shot from the point that found the top corner and Kelowna only trailed by two.

Seattle collected a goal from Simon Kubicek before Philp scored his fourth goal of the evening, and third power-play goal, before the period was out to give the Thunderbirds a 8-4 lead heading into the final frame.

In the third Leif Mattson, with his second marker of the night and eighth goal of the season brought the Rockets back within three, but Kubicek responded with his second for the T-Birds to regain that lead once again. Lassi Thomson added one more late in the game for Kelowna, but Seattle would take this one, 9-6.

James Porter made the start for the Rockets, stopping 7 of 11 shots before getting pulled following Seattle’s fourth goal. Roman Basran faced 26 shots in relief, stopping 21 of them. Porter’s record drops to 1-4-0-0.

Kelowna’s record falls to 1-8-0-0; the worst start in franchise history.

The Rockets are back in action this weekend, as they play a home-and-home set with the Tri-City Americans. Kelowna, which leaves today for Kennewick, Wash., will play in Tri-City on Friday night at 7:05 p.m., then will host the Americans on Saturday night, 7:05 p.m. at Prospera Place.

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